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CSREES Update - December 12, 2007

CSREES Update, from the Office of the Administrator, is a biweekly newsletter for research, education, and extension partners at land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions.


  • From the Administrator
  • Gray Named as LEGIS Fellow
  • Patrick Holian Is Retiring
  • New Members Appointed to Secretary's Advisory Committee
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • USDA Issues Interim Final Rule Revising the WIC Food Packages
  • National Cattlemen's Foundation Partners with USDA to Register Premises as Part of NAIS


  • Farm Transition and Estate Planning: Calculating Impact in Minnesota

  • 2008 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference
  • Registration Open for SARE's 20th Anniversary Conference



As we come to the end of 2007, it is reassuring to reflect on the resilience of the agricultural research, education, and extension system and our collective commitment to serve the public.  We are closing the year without a federal appropriation, a farm bill reauthorizing our programs, and an ever-shortening time horizon for our policymakers, yet science and education move forward.  Applicants continue to vigorously seek grants to support innovations, CSREES staff work with faculty across the nation to quickly and effectively deliver critical knowledge through innovative systems, and the world looks to the broad land-grant system as a model for developing and using knowledge in an effective and expeditious way. 

I am proud of the ongoing dedication of our staff, which works to streamline processes, improve accountability, and unite expertise to solve knowledge-based problems in agriculture, the environment, human health, and communities. Whether through taking steps out of the grants application and review process, assuring continuity in 4-H programs, or linking diagnostics and communications to limit invasive species, CSREES staff serves the nation by serving science. Moreover, scientists and educators serve the world through the innovation which results.

We are fortunate in this nation to have the resources that allow us to look beyond our immediate needs to prepare for the uncertainties of the future. We who work to advance science are privileged to do so in a generous and forward-thinking nation. I hope that next year is as productive and rewarding as 2007 has been, even in the face of so many unknowns.

Colien Hefferan


Mary McPhail Gray, deputy administrator for Families, 4-H, and Nutrition (F4HN), was selected as a 2008 LEGIS Congressional Fellow. This Fellowship is administered by the Brookings Institution, and will give Gray the opportunity to work directly with the Congress of the United States for a full year. Gray will undergo an intense 2-week orientation program the first 2 weeks of January 2008, and then will negotiate placement with an appropriate representative, senator, or committee. Her work from that point forward will be focused on and in direct support of the legislative process. The Fellowship provides selectees with the opportunity to network with Senate and House members, Hill staff, Executive Branch personnel, business organizations, and other Fellows. Given the current budget situation, the status of the farm bill, and a rapidly approaching national election, this Fellowship should be a memorable experience.

Other LEGIS Fellows from CSREES include Hiram Larew, director of International Programs, Mary Ann Rozum, national program leader for Conservation and Environment, Jill Auburn, director for Sustainable Agriculture, Research, and Education, Mark Poth, research director for the National Research Initiative, and Dennis Kopp, assistant administrator for Program and Analysis.

Dan Kugler will serve as interim deputy administrator for F4HN during Gray's fellowship. He will also continue as the deputy administrator for Natural Resources and Environment and can be reached via e-mail at dkugler@csrees.usda.gov, and telephone 202-401-4555. Also during this period, Cathann Kress will continue as director for Youth Development and Cynthia Tuttle as director for Nutrition and Family Consumer Sciences.

Gray's current CSREES-wide responsibilities for national committees and liaison work will be reassigned for the year. Contact the Office of the Administrator at 202-720-4423 for information. Gray will eventually have telephone and e-mail connectivity in her Congressional office. Her CSREES e-mail address mgray@csrees.usda.gov will be maintained and you can reach her there.

Patrick Holian, CSREES Partners Video Magazine executive producer and writer, is retiring after 38 years in film production. Holian spent 17 years in the private sector working for Public Broadcasting Service, ABC-TV, and the Dutch National Television producing primarily documentaries. Leaving the private sector, he moved to New Mexico State University (NMSU) where he worked for the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station under an extension appointment. He came to CSREES Communication Staff in 2004 to produce the award winning Partners Video Magazine. He produced 12 Partners episodes during his tenure.

Holian earned his B.A. from The Ohio State University in film and TV production and his M.A. in communication studies from NMSU.

Holian and his wife, Hettie, a nurse with Capital Hospice and who is also retiring, will leave the United States after the first of the year and move to the Caribbean Island of Bonaire in the Dutch West Indies. Their son, Sebastian, is presently attending graduate school and living in London, England. His last day in the office is December 20.

Members of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers were recently appointed for 2007-2009. Among the members are three professionals working within the land-grant and CSREES partnership. The members include: Janie Hipp, CSREES national program leader for Economics and Community Systems Unit; Ray Mobley, extension veterinarian at Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL, and small farm operator; and Mary Peabody, associate professor University of Vermont, Burlington, and director of the Women's Agricultural Network. Each member was appointed or reappointed to serve a 2-year term. The Committee is authorized by the Agricultural Credit Improvement Act of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-554) and advises the Secretary on (1) the development of a program of coordinated financial assistance to qualified beginning farmers and ranchers required by Section 309 (i) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (a program consisting of federal and state beginning farmer programs that provide joint financing to beginning farmers and ranchers); (2) methods of maximizing the number of new farming and ranching opportunities created through the program; (3) methods of encouraging states to participate in the program; (4) the administration of the program; and (5) other methods of creating new farming or ranching opportunities. The Committee is comprised of 20 members including the Farm Service Agency, state beginning farmer programs, commercial lenders, private nonprofit organizations, CSREES, community colleges or other educational institutions, other entities providing lending or technical assistance and farmers and ranchers.



Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program - Various topic areas

See individual grant program

See individual grant program

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program

December 14,

Dionne Toombs

Integrated Organic Program

January 9, 2008 Tom Bewick

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: National Integrated Food Safety Initiative

January 11,

Jan Singleton

Secondary and Two-Year Postsecondary Agriculture Education Challenge Grants Program

January 11,

Gregory Smith

International Science and Education Competitive Grants Program

January 17,

Hiram Larew

Education Challenge, Higher Ed, HEP

February 1,

Gregory Smith

Higher Education Program: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

February 8, 2008

Irma Lawrence

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program

February 19, 2008 Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 Program

February 22, 2008

Joan Gill

CSREES advertises all of its funding opportunities through "Find Grant Opportunities" on the Grants.gov Web site. This site is searchable and contains summary information on all federal funding opportunities with links to the full announcements. Users can search announcements by topic, funding agency, and date, as well as subscribe to an e-mail notification service based on these parameters.


Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner announced December 5 the publication of an interim final rule revising food packages provided by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) for the first time in nearly three decades. The interim final rule, issued by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, was published December 6 in the Federal Register. It largely follows recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies in the final report of its review of the WIC food packages, WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change, as well as the latest nutrition science and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Under the interim final rule, the food packages are revised to add new foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while amounts of some current foods are modified. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the USDA Issues Interim Final Rule Revising the WIC Food Packages full release.

USDA announced November 30 a partnership with the National Cattlemen's Foundation in cooperation with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. The partnership will facilitate the registration of additional cattle premises as part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). USDA will soon release a business plan to advance animal disease traceability. That plan outlines strategies to be undertaken to help achieve the long-term goal of NAIS, which is to retrieve sufficient trace forward and traceback data within a 48-hour window. This will allow animal health officials to trace a disease back to its source, which ultimately protects other premises and cattle from the adverse economic impact of a disease outbreak. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the National Cattlemen's Foundation Partners with USDA to Register Premises as Part of NAIS full release.


The Helping America's Youth (HAY) Initiative, led by first lady Laura Bush, raises awareness about the challenges facing our nation's youth and encourages caring adults to connect with youth at home, at school, and in the community.

Recently at Andrews Air Force Base, Mrs. Bush sponsored a HAY roundtable discussion on the special needs of military youth. She welcomed military and civilian participants to the event and recognized the strength of, and the sacrifices made by, children whose parents are deployed. Following a presentation on the impacts of military deployment by Stephen Cozza, Uniformed Services University, representatives of National 4-H, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Military Child Education Coalition, the Armed Services YMCA, the National Military Family Association, and the National Guard Bureau described the wide variety of programs made available to military youth by their organizations. CSREES National Program Leader Sharon Wright described the 4-H partnerships with the Army, Air Force, and Navy, and the Operation: Military Kids program. Barbara Thompson, Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, moderated the panel discussion, which was highlighted by two young people who shared their recent experiences with having mothers deployed in the Air Force and the National Guard respectively. Mrs. Bush acknowledged the resiliency and strength of military youth, especially during this holiday season.

Farm transition and estate planning are on the rise throughout the Land-Grant University System. As our farming population advances in age, steps must be taken to ensure the next generation of farmers and ranchers has a smooth transition. Educators are finding that many farm families are not prepared for the inevitability of passing the estate to the next generation. Without proper planning, family farming operations are in jeopardy of being lost altogether, or at minimum, being destroyed as working farm units. 

University of Minnesota Extension, with funding through the North Central Risk Management Education program, is addressing these issues in Minnesota through a series of workshops designed to further prepare farm families and agriculture professionals working with farm families, in negotiating this terrain. Workshops are conducted in various locations statewide with participants receiving materials covering topics such as: establishing personal, family, and business goals; transfer strategies; financial considerations; tax considerations; treatment of heirs, estate planning issues and strategies; developing a written transfer plan; and establishing a transfer and planning team. Total financial impact of the program, combining the farm transition and estate planning assets preserved by this intensive work, reflects from 178 survey respondents of 524 program participants, a total of $220.5 million or $420,726.07 per program participant in farm value savings. These types of programs can have a profound impact on the overall state agricultural economy while preserving farms for the future. Estate planning and farm succession programs are funded through the Regional Risk Management Education Centers. Information concerning estate planning can be found on the eXtension Web site under the Personal Finance area. Contact Gary Hachfeld, regional extension educator, University of Minnesota Extension, hachf002@umn.edu at 800-241-3214, or Janie Hipp, CSREES national program leader for Risk Management Education & Farm Financial Management, for additional program information.


The 2008 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference is April 1 & 2, 2008, in Oklahoma City, OK, with a pre-conference seminar scheduled March 31. The number of women either taking over as the principal operator or beginning new farming and ranching enterprises continues to increase. Educators are seeing a demand for specialized farm management and risk management training focusing on the woman owner/operator.

The 2008 conference brings together private- and public-sector educators, crop insurance agents, lenders, and other agricultural professionals who are involved in outreach education, to share ongoing and emerging successful risk management education efforts directed toward women involved in production agriculture. Conference participants will learn about educational efforts which assist women producers and their families effectively manage financial, production, marketing, legal, and human resource risks associated with agricultural businesses. The pre-conference seminar focuses on agricultural law and will include presentations concerning liabilities associated with farming and ranching operations, estate planning and farm succession, and a session designed to assist those working with farmers and ranchers in designing and executing agricultural legal education activities. Presentations and poster sessions will be offered. Visit the conference Web site for additional information. Contact Janie Hipp, CSREES national program leader for Risk Management Education/Farm Financial Management, in the Economic and Community Systems Unit, for more information.

Registration is open for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education's (SARE) 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference, March 25-27, 2008, in Kansas City, MO. Tap into 20 years of groundbreaking SARE-funded research, experience, and innovations. The complete schedule, including details on breakout sessions and tours, along with a link to online registration is available on the conference Web site. Exhibitor registrations must be submitted via registration form and cannot be made online. Exhibits will be available for nonprofit entities only. Space is very limited, so act quickly.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for January 16, 2008. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by January 9, 2008.

Editor: Judy Rude, Public Affairs Specialist, CSREES Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact her at jrude@csrees.usda.gov.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please send an e-mail message to jrude@csrees.usda.gov. In the body of the message, type: subscribe csrees-update OR unsubscribe csrees-update.

Back issues of CSREES UPDATE are available on the CSREES Web site.

Colien Hefferan, Administrator

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.